Listening Chronicles #22
Documenting thoughts on the podcasts that I listen to and those I would recommend.
This is the first post of 2023 !
I’m excited to get things started with Curiousect — especially this year.
You may be wondering what my plans with Curiousect are? What can you expect in 2023?
Well, this time, I’m following CGP Grey’s advice of keeping a theme for your year - something that’ll keep you grounded and won’t feel overwhelming.
For this year, the theme is going to be to Create.
A few things have changed in my life, and the focus of this year will be to create things that give me joy.
So, I want to write more for Curiousect. I want to get back to Reading Chronicles — where I review books, manga, anime and suggest other things. I will create more and more podcast episodes. I want to try collaborating with people on some projects together. Basically, I want to try putting myself and my work out there.
That’s the aim for 2023. If you think that’s worthwhile, then do spread the word about Curiousect with your friends !
I have some fun podcasts episode to recommend. Let’s get started with the first Listening Chronicles of the year !
Podcasts I Listened To
Radiolab | Universe in Verse
BrainPickings (or the Marginalian) by Maria Popova is one of my favourite blogs on the internet. It’s thoughtful, generous and over the years has given me many nuggets filled with wisdom and delight.
Some of my favourite posts on the blogs always involve poetry. She curates a series called Universe in Verse where poets would come together and celebrate poetry about science, physics, nature and the mysteries of the universe.
So, when I found out that Radiolab decided to start off the year with an episode with Maria, it was a collaboration I didn’t know I needed. One of the best narrative podcasts with insane sound design paired with some beautiful poems about science.
It was everything I expected it to be.
It’s 30 minutes long and Maria takes you on an exploration of a few curated poems. This matched with amazing background music, and her own interpretation of the poems get you lost in the universe.
A wonderful way to start off 2023.
Give it a listen !
Poetry Unbound | Self Care
Here’s another poetry episode from Poetry Unbound. Pádraig Ó Tuama is the literature/poetry teacher whose classes I wish I could attend. In the coming weeks, I’ll be listening to a lot of Poetry Unbound — I have an entire season piled up.
This is one of my favourite podcast series only because it teaches me so much about where I am and what’s happening in the world around me. I am able to appreciate poetry, because of this show.
The current episode is about one such poem:
This is a brave and risky and brilliant poem by Solmaz Sharif because the title “Self-Care” is really important. And it is also a commodity. Self-care is a huge industry. And the poem isn’t, I don’t think, saying that the self-care industry is vacuous, it is saying that good self-care will withstand a little scrutiny. And it isn’t just about believing everybody that says..
I really liked listening to this episode and at the end, gets you to think about the kind of practices you want to follow in 2023.
Land of the Giants | Dating Games
Land of the Giants is back with another season !
This time, they’re focusing on the online dating industry. These episodes help explain how the modern dating industry came to be — its history, the business and the impact it has on culture.
There’s possibly someone you know who’s been using dating apps for a while. You’ll also probably know someone who’ve had good stories to share, and may have come across terrible stories of people using the apps. If you’ve wondered why these situations are so common? The podcast has answers.
In the first episode for example, we learn the origin story of the ‘Swipe’ as a feature on phones (before Tinder, the swipe wasn’t even considered an action that could be performed on mobile apps). There’s also explanations of the kind of decisions taken to get more users on board, of why the apps became gamified and so many other things. The second episode is even more interesting — the focus is on MatchGroup, the company that effectively controls online dating.
I really liked listening to the episodes. If you’re someone who’s used these apps, or even remotely interested in the business of monetizing connection — you should give it a listen.
Radio Lingo | Lights! Camera! Translate
On this list, this is a podcast which I had never heard of before.
Radio Lingo is a podcast that explores language and how it shapes us. It’s an exploration at the intersection of language and culture. The host, Ahmed Ali Akbar stitches together really thoughtful episodes about the usage of language in our day to day lives, that we hadn’t considered.
The first episode, for example starts off, with talking about names — why people may mispronounce your name in the first few instances, why it’s so hard to pronounce the names of people from other cultures, and also looks at a case study of how Asians in the US anglicized their names to make it easy to live in the western world.
I’ve finished listening to 3 episodes and I’ve been enjoying the series. There’s so much to languages that I hadn’t even thought about.
The 3rd episode is about subtitling and dubbing movies/tv shows for different languages. As someone who’s been watching anime for more than a decade, and who constantly relies on subtitles while watching shows and movies — the process of what happens behind the scenes was really exciting to listen to and I’m in sheer awe at how complex everything is.
Here’s a small bit from the episode, where they’re talking about how maintaining the integrity of the translation to the original language and context is really hard (in this case about the show ‘Squid Games’):
Ahmed Ali Akbar: But if the translated summary of the original material isn’t quite right, then that can change the actual narrative of the show. This particular issue came to a head in 2021, when the Korean show Squid Game exploded in the US and all over the world. You’ve probably seen it, but if not, it’s about a brutal game show that exploits class differences and poverty. It’s a distinctly Korean story, but it spoke to the struggle of everyday people everywhere. And almost immediately viewers fluent in Korean started criticizing the quality of the English subtitles, dubs, and closed captioning. One translation in particular missed some important nuances of the original. One character Han Mi-nyeo, she’s like the chaotic auntie character played by Kim Joo-ryoung, was overly simplified in the translation.
Rafael Motomayer: The big mistake with Squid Game was, one character who said that she never bothered to study, but she she’s smart, uh, mean that she is not formally educated because she didn’t want to. She just, uh, she has street smarts kind of, but the original, uh, Korean says something about the lines of, I am very smart. I just never, gonna, never got a chance to be educated.
Ahmed Ali Akbar: She’s pleading with other characters not to underestimate her because of her class and lack of formal education.
Rafael Motomayer: Which was closer to the show’s theme of, class and inequality and these sort of social commentary that made the show popular in addition to just a bunch of death games. So, in the original line cemented those ideas whereas the English translation just completely changed the, the arc for that character and made her lazy rather than just devoid of opportunity.
There’s a lot more in this episode and the entire series, definitely give it a listen !
That was it for this edition of the Listening Chronicles !
Let me know what you were listening to? What would you recommend? If you’ve heard these episodes, what were your thoughts?
Happy Listening !
Thanks for reading Curiousect! For more such posts, don’t forget to subscribe !